Oil and gas industry body recommends companies to take into consideration the “no go commitment” in a new report; UNESCO

DR of Congo – Virunga National Park

In a recent publication on the  SDG, the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA) recognizes that many World Heritage sites are impacted by industrial activities and operations, including oil and gas exploration and extraction.  The report on Mapping the oil and gas industry to the Sustainable Development Goals: an Atlas was co-authored with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Finance Cooperation (IFC).

The report states that where there is potential for impact on designated World Heritage sites, companies should conduct strategic environmental assessments and incorporate cultural heritage  into environmental, social and health impact assessments (ESHIAs).  The report recalls the established position by the World Heritage Committee that mineral, oil and gas exploration or development is incompatible with the World Heritage status.

Read more


The Power Plants That May Save a Park, and Aid a Country; Amy Yee; The New York Times

DR Of Congo – Virunga National Park

VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK, Democratic Republic of Congo — On the verdant savanna of Virunga National Park, a herd of elephants clustered near an umbrella-shaped acacia tree to seek shelter from the blazing morning sun. From a Cessna far above, the giant animals looked like brown-gray miniatures.

Emmanuel de Merode, the director of Virunga National Park, piloted the plane. He wore a Virunga park ranger uniform and had his green beret tucked into the shoulder of his khaki shirt. Mr. de Merode flew over the dazzling 50-mile-long Lake Edward, then descended to a grassy airfield flanked by palm trees.

On this day, the flight was his commute. “It’s the best job in the world,” he said.

Mr. de Merode was visiting a small hydroelectric power plant — built more than four years ago with an investment from the European Union — that has lofty goals.

Read more

World Heritage Committee meeting shows challenges for the world’s treasured places, and reasons for hope; Susan Lieberman & Alfred DeGemmis; HuffPost

DR of Congo – Kahuzi-Biega National Park

The international community, including governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and intergovernmental organizations, have spent 10 days at the annual meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee—the decision-making body of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention—in Krakow, Poland. We have been here for WCS, and it’s been both encouraging and disheartening. From the destruction of ancient ruins in areas of war and civil conflict, such as cultural sites in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, to careless development in major urban areas, many of our planet’s World Heritage sites are well-known and received plenty of media attention – but some are not.

Read more

30 years of protecting the mysterious Okapi; Shreya Dasgupta; Mongabay

DR of Congo – Okapi Wildlife Reserve

On June 1, the Okapi Conservation Project celebrated its 30th Anniversary. Mongabay interviewed John Lukas, the project’s founder, to learn more about the successes and challenges of okapi conservation.

  • The discovery of the elusive okapi, once believed to be a mythical unicorn, was one of the most exciting taxonomic findings of the twentieth century.
  • To protect this shy, giraffe-like animal, wildlife conservationist John Lukas founded the Okapi Conservation Project (OCP) in 1987.
  • During the past three decades, the project team has seen both successes and challenges, from political unrest to a brutal rebel attack in 2012 that killed 6 people and 14 okapis.

The discovery of the elusive okapi, once believed to be a mythical unicorn, was one of the most exciting taxonomic findings of the twentieth century.

Read more

10 Amazing and Popular Tourist Attractions in Africa; Emeka Chigozie; Answers Africa

DR of Congo – Virunga National Park

Africa is fast becoming known as a tourist destination with countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt and South Africa making waves and creating a new era in tourism. For countries like Kenya, tourism contribute a very substantial amount to national revenue every year. Certain tourist attractions are popular because there is a special feeling it gives to people who visit such places and this is outside the fact that places like this hold a very rich heritage and recognition. There are a few places in Africa that are worth mentioning when it comes to Africa’s popular tourist destinations. Here are the Top 10 Well Known Tourist Destinations in Africa. 

10. Omo River Region, Ethiopia

The Omo river region is an area in the Southwestern Ethiopia and home to more than 50 different tribes.

Read more

5 of Africa’s best national parks; Olivia Yasukwa & Torera Idowu; CNN

DR of Congo – Virunga National Park

From sheltering some of the globe’s most endangered species to showcasing astonishing patterns of migration, Africa’s national parks are among the world’s most spectacular.

More and more visitors flock each year to the continents’ parks and reserves, bearing witness to nature on a grand scale and playing a vital role in generating tourism income.
Here are some of the top picks on the continent.

Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Maasai Mara National Reserve, which has been honored by the World Travel Awards, is named after its ancestral inhabitants, the Maasai people, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in southwest Kenya.
In addition to an impressive population of big cats, rhinos and elephants, it plays host from July through to October each year to one of the world’s more spectacular movements of wildebeest.

Ex-Child Soldier Wins Goldman Environmental Prize For Protecting Virunga Park And Its Gorillas; Sasha Ingber; NPR

DR of Congo – Virunga National Park

The son of Protestant farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rodrigue Katembo dreamed of one day becoming a pastor. But at 14, he was forced into an armed group. Now 41, he is one of his country’s fiercest defenders of wildlife. Katembo has faced illegal charcoal harvesters, armed poachers and multiple militias as a warden within the 3,000 square miles of Virunga National Park, Africa’s oldest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

One of his most daunting challenges began in 2010 when British oil company SOCO International was granted an oil exploration permit by the Congolese government in part of the protected area. SOCO’s operations threatened the livelihoods of locals and the survival of one of the last populations of critically endangered mountain gorillas, who live in the southern region of the park — estimated at about 480 of the world’s remaining 800.

Read more

Former Child Soldier Wins Goldman Environmental Prize; Miss Rosen; Crave

DR of Congo – Virunga National Park

Congolese park ranger Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo wins top honors for his extraordinary heroicism protecting the environment from oil companies, poachers, and rebel forces.

Former child soldier turned wildlife park ranger, Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo, 41, is one of the six people who has been awarded the prestigious 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize for his work to protect the natural environment. The prize, given to one person from each of the world’s six inhabited continental regions, was given to Katembo for his work protecting the majestic endangered species who populate Virunga, Africa’s oldest’s national park, from oil prospectors who are keen to gain access the pristine and untapped lands of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
At 3,000 square-miles in size, Virunga encompasses sections of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda, and Rwanda.

Read more

Getaway To Genesis: 10 Overlooked UNESCO World Heritage Sites To Visit; Brenda; Trip101

DR of Congo – Okapi Wildlife Reserve

When the term ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’ comes to mind, we think of significant landmarks, such as a country’s most arresting attraction or an architectural or natural feat so amazing, international fame is only expected of it. However, around the globe lie many hidden treasures protected by this honour; and there are more of them unheard of than we think.

Explore the unknown side of Mother Nature and human history by visiting these UNESCO World Heritage Sites, all lesser heard-of and full of marvels just waiting to be uncovered.

1. Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada

Step into a land before time and learn the heritage of fauna in the Dinosaur Provincial Park.

Read more

Gorillas Stand In Way Of Uganda, Dr Congo Oil; Gerald Tenywa; Sunday Vision

DR of Congo – Virunga National Park

The Government stopped illegal mining of gold, logging and encroachment that were pushing Bwindi to her knees.

The fact that part of the landscape where the mountain gorillas stay in Uganda and neighbouring DR Congo is sitting on oil, has led to two questions: Should the gorillas be dispersed in order to extract the oil or should the oil and the gorillas just be? The two countries do not agree.

Gerald Tenywa writes about the dilemma of exploration vs conservation.

“We neither have gold nor diamonds, but we have gorillas,” says Amos Agaba, a tour guide at Buhoma in Kanungu district. “They have brought dollars to our village. Tourists buy different products from the local residents and we, too, earn from guiding.”

This is part of the impact of gorilla tourism currently estimated at $10m (sh34b) annually.

Read more